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Grotius Centre

PhD candidates

Below you find information on all the PhD candidates we have attached to the Centre and their projects.

International Criminal Law

Name: Seun Solomon Bakare

Location:

The Hague, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Carsten Stahn and Assistant Professor Sergey Vasiliev

PhD Topic:

Regional Complementarity and the Rome Statute: Focus on Hybrid and Regional Courts in Africa

Summary:

Complementarity remains the major functional concept for regulating the relationship between the ICC and national criminal institutions. While the concept has been steadily theorised and developed in this regard, it has been largely uncontemplated as a mechanism for regulating the relationship between the ICC and regional criminal mechanisms that are beginning to adorn our international legal spaces. As such, Seun’s research proposes the notion of ‘regional complementarity’. It makes a claim that if properly redefined and rethought, complementarity (or more specifically, the notion of regional complementarity) can be theorised and used as a tool of relational coordination between the ICC and other regional or sub-regional mechanisms, for the overall goal of closing the impunity gap and enhancing a more effective regime of international crimes prosecution.

Name: Cale Davis

Location:

The Hague, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Carsten Stahn and Associate Professor Joe Powderly

PhD Topic:

Prosecutorial Discretion in International Criminal Justice

Summary:

Cale's research looks at the challenges international prosecutors have encountered in the exercise of their discretion, in light of the unique features of the international prosecutorial role. 

His research is divided into three parts. First, part 1 compares features of the international and the domestic prosecutorial function to provide context to the challenges international prosecutors have encountered. Part 1 identifies what makes the international prosecutorial function unique from the domestic prosecutorial function. Second, part 2 looks at the challenges international prosecutors have encountered in the exercise of their discretion at each stage of the proceedings. It looks at the nature of these challenges, and also asks whether these challenges arose due to the unique features of the international prosecutorial role. Finally, part 3 looks at the 'lessons learned' from these challenges, and enquires whether anything can be done to overcome them in the future.

Additional Work:

Managing Editor, International Organizations Law Review

Name: Teodora Jugrin

Location:

The Hague, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Carsten Stahn

PhD Topic:

When crimes become international: Towards an empirical model for qualifying non-state actors committing crimes against humanity

Summary:

Teodora’s research focuses on crimes against humanity. It enquires into the organisational characteristics of armed non-state actors that engage in widespread or systematic violence against civilian populations. She seeks to revisit and develop the existing criteria concerning organisational features based on actual practice and characteristics of groups. Teodora’s project takes an empirical approach and draws also on studies on armed groups from the fields of sociology and political science. Her research aims to develop the legal framework for the characterisation of non-state armed groups committing crimes against humanity.

Additional Work:

Associate Legal Officer, Chambers, International Criminal Court

Name: Ciara Laverty

Location:

The Hague, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Carsten Stahn and Associate Professor Joe Powderly

Name: Darryl Robinson

Location:

Kingston, Canada

Supervisor(s):

Professor Carsten Stahn

PhD Topic:

The Justice Conversation in International Criminal Law

Summary:

International criminal law scholarship has grown more sophisticated.  One important stream of scholarship critically assesses compliance with fundamental principles such as culpability and legality.  Whereas jurisprudence  was previously primarily concerned with precedential and consequentialist arguments, this newer stream of scholarship is concerned with the fundamental constraints that make a system “just”.  However, articulating these fundamental principles is not straightforward.  How do we identify the boundaries and requirements of those principles in difficult cases, involving for example collective actions, diminished agency, or conflicting commands?  How do we find principles that are salient across cultures? 

Darryl suggests a non-foundational, non-Cartesian, “coherentist” account of fundamental principles. The account accepts that principles are human constructs, but it nonetheless allows us to do helpful analytical and normative work. The conversation is human, revisable, and fallible, but it is nonetheless an important conversation.

Name: Beth van Schaack

Location:

Palo Alto, United States of America

Supervisor(s):

Professor Carsten Stahn and Assistant Professor Giulia Pinzauti

PhD Topic:

Syria & The Promise and Challenges of International Justice

Summary:

The Syrian conflict is one of the most well-documented international crime bases in human history. And yet, with the exception of a few national proceedings, legal accountability has been elusive because the ICC has been foreclosed from acting and there is insufficient diplomatic support to establish an ad hoc criminal tribunal without Syrian consent. This project will explore the legal impediments and diplomatic challenges that have led to the fatal trinity that is Syria: the massive commission of international crimes that are subject to detailed investigations and documentation but whose perpetrators have enjoyed virtually complete impunity with no end in sight.  It demonstrates that notwithstanding political paralysis in the Security Council and a host of other obstacles, diplomats, lawyers, and policymakers—acting both within and without the United Nations—have created a number of innovative justice and accountability mechanism that will advance justice for crimes being committed in and in connection with the Syrian conflict.  These include new models of human rights documentation and investigation as well as new legal theories for providing justice for international crimes in domestic courts.  This forced creativity is advancing the accountability norm in new ways.

Name: Jennifer Schense

Location:

The Hague, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Carsten Stahn

PhD Topic:

Whether International Crimes can be Prevented

Summary:

The theme of Jennifer’s research is whether an international legal duty exists to prevent crimes, and if so, whether the ICC can contribute towards meeting that duty through the use of indicators to determine when international crimes are likely to be committed; to determine what specific duty to prevent such crimes has come into existence; and to determine how best to fulfil it. As a secondary theme, her research explores the role that State practice plays in bringing the norm and its associated duty into being. Jennifer argues that the practices put into place by States and by the UN Secretariat are concretising a legal norm and duty, deriving from a number of earlier treaty obligations, and essentially leap-frogging the traditional treaty-making process. It also posits that as the most powerful actors in the international system, States have the greatest responsibility to prevent international crimes, but that various degrees of responsibility attach to all actors. Simply stated, there is no such thing as a bystander. The targets of this research therefore are States in particular, as well as international organisations, including the ICC and the UN, and activists and advocates interested in promoting discussion on preventing international crimes.

Additional Work:

Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court; CEO, House of Nuremberg; CEO, Cat Kung Fu Productions, BV

Name: Yudan Tan

Location:

Leiden, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor William Schabas and Associate Professor Robert Heinsch

PhD Topic:

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as Evidence of Customary International Law

Summary:

The relationship between treaty rules and customary international law remains a highly debated topic in international law. Yudan’s research aims to examine the nature of the Rome Statute as evidence of customary international law: in other words, whether (and to what extent) a provision of Rome Statute is of a declaratory nature or of a constitutive nature of customary international law. Yudan’s research addresses whether a rule in the Rome Statute evidences a pre-existing customary norm at the adoption of the Rome Statute in 1998; if a rule was of a norm-making nature as it was stipulated, whether this new treaty rule has passed into part of customary international law now; and which customary norms have been excluded from the Statute at its adoption.

Her research focuses on four provisions of the Rome Statute. These provisions are article 7 (crimes against humanity); article 8 (war crimes in internal armed conflicts); and articles 23(3) and 27(2) (regarding indirect perpetration and personal immunity, respectively). Yudan’s research hopes to provide a perspective to understand part of the corpus of customary international law applicable in international criminal law, which might be of value to lawyers practising international law either in or outside the ICC.

Name: Yang Xie

Location:

The Hague, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Carsten Stahn and Assistant Professor Jens Iverson

PhD Topic:

Cooperation between the International Criminal Court and Non-State Parties

Summary:

Yang’s research focuses on the ICC’s practice on its cooperation with non-States Parties (NSPs) and explores possibilities for improvement. The thesis starts with assessing NSPs’ importance to the Court; the current legal framework regulating the Court’s cooperation with them; and the existing mechanisms in response to non-cooperation and their limits. Yang’s thesis then goes into detail to discuss factors that would cause a delay of cooperation or even non-cooperation. States are classified as ICC situation states; the P3 in the Security Council; and other states, and are discussed separately. Yang intends to map out the legal, political and logistical factors that would affect a State’s attitude towards cooperation. The last part of his research will explore areas where improvements are needed. Yang argues that the Court needs stronger legal and institutional backing to legitimise its requests, and better guarantee enforcement.

Environmental Law

Name: Nadia Sánchez Castillo-Winckels

Location:

Almere, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Nico Schrijver and Professor Eric de Brabandere

PhD Topic:

Natural Resources and International Law

Summary:

Nadia’s research concerns the question of whether and how applicable principles of international law promote the governance of shared natural resources toward sustainable development. She argues that, from the viewpoint of the applicable principles, the law of shared natural resources is evolving in two converging trends. The first is one in which international instruments and treaty regimes increasingly recognise the interconnectedness of the natural environment of our Earth and the link between a healthy environment and respect for human rights. The second is the progressive acknowledgment by the international community (perhaps because of its inevitability) of public engagement in the governance of transboundary and global natural resources. These two converging trends occur in a context which has led the international community to agree to “transform our world” in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Nadia aims to offer useful insight for strengthening the role of applicable principles of international law in fostering the sustainable governance of shared natural resources. For this reason, she strives to be mindful of the possible practical applications of the ideas she proposes. 

Name: Frederic Perron-Welch

Location:

Geneva, Switzerland

Supervisor(s):

Professor Nico Schrijver and Assistant Professor Daniëlla Dam

PhD Topic:

A Global Legal Framework on Forests: Seeing the Trees for the Forest

Summary:

Although they fall under national jurisdiction, forests are a common concern of humankind will play an important role in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The threat of uncontrolled degradation and land conversion means that their conservation and sound management is matter of international concern. A number of legally binding instruments have been adopted, but they do not directly or comprehensively address all types of forests. As political will does not exist for the negotiation of a global forest convention, a coherent understanding of existing international law is needed to provide a strong legal basis for States to achieve the interlinked goals of conserving, restoring and sustainably using forests. Frederic’s research thus investigates international law on the sustainable use of forests with the aim of developing an approach that uses the Rio Conventions and the subsequent agreements and practices of States in COP decisions to support the value of forests as a renewable natural resource and an important source of global environmental public goods.

Additional Work:

Legal Research Fellow, Biodiversity and Biosafety Law, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law

Name: Alexandros Sarris

Location:

The Hague, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Nico Schrijver and Associate Professor Freya Baetens

PhD Topic:

Territorial, Environmental and Economic Challenges to the Arctic Regime

Summary:

Alexandros’ thesis is focused on the current legal regime(s) governing the Arctic. As the impacts of climate change are more than obvious on the Arctic—including the melting of the ice which opens the road for the economic exploitation of the area—it is necessary to examine the current legal status that is applicable in this respect. The legal vacuums seems to be more than the solutions, and the diversity of stakeholders raises the need for a more concrete model of governance. In the light of the above, Alexandros' thesis tries to identify the legal vacuums within various overlapping legal systems. It also aims to suggest solutions to the complex issue of the holistic, multi-stakeholder forms of governance within an area of conflicting interests, enormous wealth in its environmental uniqueness, as well as its living and non-living natural resources.

Additional Work: Senior Lecturer on International Law at Erasmus University Rotterdam

State Responsibility, Sovereignty, and Governance

Name: Thea Coventry

Location:

Leiden, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Nico Schrijver and Associate Professor Pinar Ölcer

PhD Topic:

Criminal Law Enforcement Jurisdiction on the High Seas

Summary:

Vessels without nationality are being increasingly used in transnational crime and for the transportation of irregular migrants and asylum seekers in international waters. In response States, and the international community, have increasingly securitised their water borders and the high seas. However, international law is not clear on whether States can extend their full criminal enforcement jurisdiction over stateless vessels intercepted on the high seas. As the key international texts do not clearly provide for these situations, Thea’s research examines and compares State domestic law on enforcement jurisdiction in international waters to see if State practice is coherent in this area, and if a customary international rule is developing. Thea’s research also examines whether the ambiguity is creating actual problems of States and international or regional law enforcement cooperation activities, and rights protection for persons detained on such vessels.

Name: Jonathan Crock

Location:

Washington DC, United States of America

Supervisor(s):

Professor William Schabas

PhD Topic:

The Right to Democracy in International Law

Summary:

States and global politico-economic institutions too often see the right to democracy as a narrow right to electoral government within the nation-state. This constrained democracy is unable to solve systemic elite capture of policy-making or structural inequality and is at the root of worsening crises of legitimacy. Narrow understandings of democracy render invisible a rich history and current innovations regarding a broad right to democracy that is a right to take part directly in decision-making in all aspects of one’s life—in economic, workplace, environmental, and all other spheres from the local to global levels. The right to democracy is always simultaneously an issue of women’s rights to gender parity in decision-making, the right to the elimination of racial discrimination, and the codified right to non-discrimination based on class. This right to “intersectional democracy” is crystallizing in law and expanding in practice through mechanisms such as the growing use of randomly selected citizens’ assemblies which achieve gender parity and empower a cross-section of socio-economic groups that are structurally underrepresented in electoral democracy. Additionally, innovations in workplace democracy, environmental democracy, and democratic control of money provide solutions to the systemic elite capture and structural inequality that are endemic to limited electoral democracy.

Additional Work:

Lecturer in International Law, College of William & Mary; Editorial Assistant, Journal of International Economic Law

Name: Xuechan Ma

Location:

Leiden, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Nico Schrijver and Assistant Professor Cecily Rose

PhD Topic:

Island Sovereignty, Maritime Entitlement and International Law: A Perspective on the Spratly Islands Dispute

Summary:

The disputes over the Spratly Islands area, by nature, are international conflicts between or among States. International law can play an important role in tackling these conflicts. Xuechan’s research aims at analysing and resolving these disputes from the perspective of international law. It has three main objectives. First, to map the rules regarding territorial sovereignty over islands and maritime entitlements over marine areas and to further apply these rules to the Spratly Islands area. Second, to propose possible cooperation mechanisms for managing marine natural resources in this area on the basis of current international law and relevant State practice. Finally, to explore legal rules for regulating potential military conflicts in this area. Xuechan’s research aims to analyse the disputes over the Spratly Islands area from various aspects of international law. All the above referred issues are acute and of vital importance for the purpose of creating a peaceful political atmosphere in this area and achieving the most efficient uses of marine natural resources.

Name: Andrea Varga

Location:

Cambridge, United Kingdom

Supervisor(s):

Professor Nico Schrijver and Dr Freya Baetens

PhD Topic:

State Responsibility in the Absence of Effective Government

Summary:

Andrea’s research analyses the question of how the territorial state or third states may be held responsible in connection with conduct taking place in territory that is under the sovereignty of the state but beyond its effective control. While a fundamental tenet of the law of state responsibility is the distinction between public and private conduct, and the state’s non-responsibility for the latter, the loss of the state’s effective control is often accompanied (or even caused) by an enhanced role for private actors.

Andrea’s research focuses on three main bases of responsibility: the duty to protect; complicity; and attribution. In the first case, the state is responsible not for the conduct of the private actor (which constitutes a ‘catalyst event’), but for its own failure to prevent the said event or punish its authors. In the second scenario, where the law is at best lex ferenda at the moment, the state may be complicit in the conduct of the private actor, by assisting the latter, for instance through the provision of financial support. In the third case, attributing the conduct of a private actor to a state results in the transformation of said conduct from private to public.

Additional Work:

Research Associate, Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge

Dispute Settlement and Arbitration

Name: Paula Baldini Miranda da Cruz

Location:

The Hague, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Eric de Brabandere and Professor Larissa van den Herik

PhD Topic:

Investment Arbitration and State-Owned Enterprises

Summary:

Investment arbitration aims at providing a politically neutral forum for foreign investors to settle disputes with states. Applying this in practice has, however, revealed complicated. The development of modern economy has diversified the corporate structures that investments may take, as well as the identity of investors.  The participation of state-owned enterprises in contemporary investments raises ontological questions relating to the identity of the parties to disputes. As states have full ownership and control over these enterprises, it is sometimes impossible to grasp if these enterprises are acting in their own commercial interest or in that of the state. In investment arbitration, this means that tribunals may not be fully able to determine whether a state-owned entity that presents a case against a host state is acting as a national of a state, or as that state itself. The object of this research is therefore to determine the best techniques and methods to decide cases involving states-owned enterprises by placing them in the procedure of investment arbitration. By providing concrete answers to the problem at hand, this research will be important to all the actors involved in this topic. State officials who consider using state-owned enterprises as vehicles for investments will find in the research output a restatement of the law applicable to the issue. Actors involved in investment arbitration cases will find in the research concrete responses based in law and case law to issues raised by questions related to state-owned enterprises.

Additional Work:

Managing Editor, Leiden Journal of International Law

Name: Reza Eftekhar

Location:

The Hague, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Nico Schrijver and Professor Eric de Brabandere

PhD Topic:

The role of domestic law of the host State in determining an investment treaty arbitral tribunal’s jurisdiction Ratione Materiae: a limited means for relocalization in investment treaty context?

Summary:

Reza's thesis begins by examining the general role that relevant domestic laws (of the capital-importing and capital-exporting countries) play in the determination of contested jurisdictional and substantive issues in investment treaty arbitrations. Subsequently, in two separate chapters, the thesis delineates the legal bases for the application and the specific function of the municipal laws of the recipient State in settling two paramount issues of ratione materiae jurisdiction in investment treaty arbitrations, namely the matters concerning the legality of the investment as well as existence of ‘property’ forming the ‘investment’. Having pinpointed the vast relevance of the internal laws of the host State in deciding upon these jurisdictional thresholds, the thesis goes on to submit that this extensive role of the host State law in the above-mentioned matters coupled with other circumstances and developments in the international law of investment tend to revive the long-dormant theory of localisation at least to some extent.

Additional Work: Legal Advisor, Iran-US Claims Tribunal
Name: Andrés Sarmiento Lamus

Location:

Bogotá, Colombia

Supervisor(s):

Professor Larissa van den Herik and Yannick Radi

PhD Topic:

Role and Function of Dissenting Opinions in International Adjudication

Summary:

Andrés explores what are the role and function of dissenting opinions and to what extent the role and function of dissenting opinions differs in the various international courts and tribunals. He therefore ascertains if the difference in jurisdictional and institutional factors among international courts and tribunals influences the role and function of the dissents. His analysis is made with a specific focus on the dissenting opinions appended to judgments of the International Court of Justice and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.    

Additional Work:

Assistant Professor of International Law, Universidad Sergio Arboleda (Bogotá, Colombia) 

Name: Judith Levine

Location:

The Hague, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Eric de Brabandere and Assistant Professor Cecily Rose

PhD Topic:

Missing Actors in International Arbitration

Summary:

Judith’s research examines how international arbitration may proceed in the absence of key players, bearing in mind the consensual nature of the process and the need to balance procedural fairness with concerns for efficiency and party autonomy.  When a key actor is missing from the arbitration stage, can the show go on?  Her research explores this question by drawing on unique insights gained from administering dozens of interstate, investor-state and commercial cases at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).  Each chapter will focus on different categories of absentees: (1) absent parties; (2) absent arbitrators; (3) absent witnesses; (4) absent experts; and (5) absent non-parties.  The chapters will reflect on lessons from actual cases and set out the steps that can be taken by participants in international arbitration either to bring the missing key players into the action, or to minimize the detrimental impact of their non-participation.  Even if non-participation of key players persists, so long as there has been valid consent to arbitrate, it should be possible to proceed with an arbitration, and to do so robustly. Legitimate binding awards will result if strategies are adopted to ensure that due process and efficiency are respected along the way.

Additional Work:

Senior Legal Counsel, Permanent Court of Arbitration; visiting lecturer at King’s College London

Name: Vid Prislan

Location:

Leiden, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Nico Schrijver and Professor Eric de Brabandere

PhD Topic:

The role of domestic courts and judicial decisions in investor-State arbitration

Summary:

Vid’s research focuses on the interaction between investment tribunals and domestic courts. The inquiry focuses on three different contexts in which domestic courts and their decisions play a role in investment arbitration: on questions of law-ascertainment (arising in situations where investment tribunals are called to apply domestic law); on questions of liability (insofar as the conduct of judicial organs is capable of engaging the responsibility of the State for violations of investment protection standards); and on questions of jurisdictional competition (to the extent that domestic courts sometimes compete with investment tribunals over competence to resolve specific investment disputes).

Additional Work:

Book Review Editor, Leiden Journal of International Law

Transitional Justice and Commissions of Inquiry

Name: Alexander Mayer-Rieckh

Location:

Innsbruck, Austria

Supervisor(s):

Professor Carsten Stahn

PhD Topic:

Vetting in Transition

Summary:

Countries emerging from violent conflict or authoritarian rule often consider it necessary to remove, or condition the employment of, abusive officials of at least certain public institutions in order to consolidate transition. Vetting, as such processes are commonly called, has acquired a fixed place in the ‘canon’ of transitional justice measures. But surprisingly little systematic attention has been paid to the topic. The dearth of understanding affects the theory and practice of vetting. Alexander’s research seeks to address these gaps. It aims to develop a more nuanced understanding of vetting; analyse its status in international law; examine its practice including variations of vetting processes, common risks, and challenges; and provide recommendations for good practice.

Additional Work:

Consultant at Human Rights, Transitional Justice, Security and Sector Reform.

International Institutional Law

Name: Franke Eleveld

Location:

Leiden, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Niels Blokker and Assistant Professor Erik Koppe

PhD Topic:

The Law Governing the Use of Force by NATO

Summary:

Franke’s PhD-research focusses on the possibility of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization incurring responsibility for internationally wrongful acts. To this end, his research concentrates on a number of issues: the legal personality of the organisation; the substantive rules binding on the organisation; and the ways of attributing wrongful conduct of member state troops to the organisation.

Name: Thomas Henquet

Location:

The Hague, The Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Niels Blokker

PhD Topic:

Remedies of non-State third parties against international organisations

Summary:

As conduct of international organisations more and more affects private parties, there are increasing calls to improve the accountability of these organisations. Whereas attention in academia and practice often focusses on procedural remedial mechanisms, this study begins by examining the right to a remedy against international organisations. Focussing mainly on the United Nations, the study begins by exploring remedial rights of private non-state parties under general international law. It then considers the internal rules of the UN and the UN’s obligation under Section 29 of the General Convention to ‘make provisions for appropriate modes of settlement for disputes of a private law character’. In doing so, the study analyses recent cases in which the UN’s accountability was invoked, such as the ‘Haiti cholera crisis’. Turning to procedural mechanisms, the study then, amongst others, examines how remedial rights may become part of decision-making by domestic courts when ruling on international organisations’ claims to immunity from jurisdiction.

Additional Work:

Legal Counsel and Chief of the Legal Office, Registry, International Criminal Court

Name: Huw Llewellyn
Location: New York, United States of America

Supervisor(s):

Professor Niels Blokker and Professor Larissa van den Herik

PhD Topic:

The UN Criminal Tribunals: An Institutional Perspective

Additional Work: Codification Division, UN Office of Legal Affairs
Name: Adriana-Maria Manolescu

Location:

The Hague, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Niels Blokker

PhD Topic:

The Costs of International Justice: Legal aspects and challenges of financing international courts and tribunals

Summary:

As demand for international justice world-wide grows, new international courts and tribunals (ICTs) are created and existing ones face increasing workloads. Simultaneously, ICTs are struggling to carry out their basic functions due to inadequate financial frameworks (the set of legal policies, procedures and regulations establishing how an ICT is funded and how funds are allocated and managed); a lack of resources; and growing concerns from states about the increasing costs of international justice. While the quality of international justice delivered depends on the proper financing of the judicial bodies, there is scarce research on the financing of all ICTs.

Adriana-Maria’s research seeks to address this research gap by identifying, from an international institutional law perspective, the optimal financial framework for an ICT to be able to successfully carry out its missionIt aims to provide an empirical basis for future policy proposals improving the financial frameworks of ICTs, as well as to enable creators of future courts to better project the long-term costs of ICTs. Her research will contribute to a more fundamental understanding of the financing of ICTs, creating an opportunity to improve the way international justice is set up and delivered.

Additional Work:

Case Manager for the Defence at the International Criminal Court 

Name: Andres Mosquera

Location:

Mons, Belgium

Supervisor(s):

Professor Niels Blokker

PhD Topic:

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization: An International Institutional Law Perspective

Summary:

NATO has attracted very little attention from international institutional law. It is necessary to look at the organisation through an institutional lens in an attempt to uncover the sui generis institutionalisation of NATO. Andres’research tries to unveil some of NATO’s paradoxes around three main points centered in the concept of idea as a teleological mission personified in a juridical subject.

The idea of NATO was implemented in three phases - the idea evolved, grew, and settled. Andres looks at the origins of the institution; an institutional analysis of the North Atlantic Treaty; and the continuous and dynamic practice of the North Atlantic Council and its subordinate bodies.

The second part of Andres’ research applies Virally’s functional necessity approach in order to address other questions relating to NATO’s full institutional building, specifically the “legal position” of NATO.  This is based in the understanding that an international organisations’ legal position has to satisfy the criterion of functional necessity in order to stay within the limits established by their constituents in the correspondent “constitutional structure” . The analysis of NATO’s legal position looks at its legal status; its privileges and immunities; and its responsibility.

Additional Work:

Legal Advisor at NATO/SHAPE

Name: Michael Ramsden

Location:

Hong Kong, Peoples' Republic of China

Supervisor(s):

Professor Niels Blokker and Assistant Professor Sergey Vasiliev

PhD Topic:

International Justice in the United Nations General Assembly

Summary:

Michael’s PhD research examines the potential for the UN General Assembly to “unite against impunity”. It considers (1) empirically, the increasing involvement of the General Assembly in the international justice field; (2) the habits of cooperation that have formed between the General Assembly and other actors on international justice; (3) the influence of General Assembly endorsed investigatory commissions in addressing the impunity gap; and (4) a taxonomy of actual and potential functions of the General Assembly to advance international justice, including “investigatory” (establishing commissions and other ad hoc bodies), “quasi-judicial” (adjudicating on a state of affairs in international relations to clear the way for action to end impunity), “quasi-legislative” (contributing to the codification of international criminal law), “authorising” (in allowing states in advancing international justice to do that which might otherwise violate international law) and “diplomatic” (exerting pressure on other actors to take action).

Additional Work:

Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Visiting Fellow, British Institute of International and Comparative Law

Human Rights Law

Name: Hanna Bosdriesz

Location:

Leiden, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Larissa van den Herik and Professor Maartje van der Woude

PhD Topic:

The case law of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on the obligation to investigate and prosecute grave violations of human rights

Summary:

The basic question underlying Hanna’s research project is whether and how domestic authorities can be stimulated to effectively investigate and prosecute grave violations of human rights at the national level. To answer this question, Hanna examines the efforts made in this respect by the Inter-American human rights system and its organs, especially the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

When the Inter-American Court started its work in the late 1980s, many of the states under its jurisdiction were still going through, or had recently gone through, transitions from war and/or dictatorship to peace and democracy. As a result, the Court has, on many occasions, been called on to address the crimes committed by past regimes and the proper response to those crimes on the part of the State. In response, it has developed rich case law on States’ legal obligations under the American Convention on Human Rights to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible for grave violations of human rights and on victims’ rights to access to justice. 

Hanna’s research examines this case law and its contribution, in practice, to domestic struggles for accountability for the crimes of past regimes

Name: Patricia Uribe Granados

Location:

Mexico City, Mexico

Supervisor(s):

Professor Larissa van den Herik

PhD Topic:

The Identification of New Human Rights by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights - The Right to Truth and the Right to Identity

Summary:

The aim of Patricia's research is to determine how the Court introduces new rights and invites two separate problem statements which relate to (i) the introduction, i.e., identification and construction, of new rights, and (ii) the reception of new rights by external actors. As for the first problem statement, the specific research question asks: what are the techniques used by the Court to construe these new rights and what external authorities are invoked to ground the identification of these new rights? As for the second problem statement, the specific research question inquires: to what extent have other state parties, as well as other international courts, accepted and incorporated the new rights?

Name: Floris Tan

Location:

Leiden, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Helen Duffy, Professor Titia Loenen, Assistant Professor Erik Koppe

PhD Topic:

The duty to investigate under interplay of international humanitarian and human rights law

Summary:

Floris’ project verges on both international humanitarian law and human rights law, with a focus on the interplay between these bodies of law. It specifically concerns states’ duties to investigate violations of the law of war and human rights during armed conflict, the central research question focusing on the exact scope and contents of a duty to investigate under the law as it stands, given the lack of clarity regarding the co-application and interplay between human rights and humanitarian law.

Additional Work:

Managing editor Nederlands Tijdschrift voor de Mensenrechten/NJCM-Bulletin

Sanctions Regimes

Name: Hilde Roskam

Location:

Leiden, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Nico Schrijver and Assistant Professor Daniëlla Dam

PhD Topic:

Targeted Sanctions imposed by the Security Council against individuals violating Human Rights Law or International Humanitarian Law

Summary:

Since 2004, the Security Council started to impose so-called crime-based targeted sanctions against individuals. These sanctions constitute assets freezes and travel bans imposed against individuals who are deemed responsible for violations of international humanitarian law or human rights law. Hilde’s research analyses the eight cases in which these sanctions are imposed (Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan, DRC, CAR, South Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia). Based on these case studies, her research addresses the following issues: the legal basis for imposing these sanctions; the information on which the imposition is based as well as procedural guarantees; the rationale behind these sanctions and the specific compliance sought from the individual; the way in which travel bans and asset freezes can contribute to the achievement of  the goals pursued by the Council; the relationship between the sanctions imposed and international criminal procedures instituted against the same individuals; and the role these sanctions have in the broader context of measures imposed by the Security Council to address threats to the international peace.

Cultural Heritage

Name: Evelien Campfens

Location:

Leiden, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Nico Schrijver and Professor Wouter Veraart (VU Amsterdam)

PhD Topic:

Whose cultural objects? Justice and injustice in looted art matters

 

Summary:

Cultural objects enjoy a protected status under international law since the times of Hugo Grotius. This did not prevent—and, today, does not prevent—looting (pillage) of cultural objects and such artefacts find their way into collections all over the world. For return requests that regard recent looting, international conventions are in place confirming the principle that such artefacts should be returned to their original owners or states of origin. These conventions, however, do not provide an answer for restitution cases that concern objects that were looted longer ago (before the conventional framework came into being) such as Nazi-confiscated art or colonial takings, an areas typified by controversy and legal uncertainty. This study's objective is to help clarify the normative framework for such cases by analysing state practice and case law.

Additional Work:

Member of the Kuratorium of the German Lost Art Foundation, lecturing and consultancy in the field of cultural heritage law

Name: Sophie Starrenburg

Location:

Leiden, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Nico Schrijver and Professor Yvonne Donders (UvA)

PhD Topic:

The Foundations of Cultural Heritage Protection: Striking a Balance between the Local and the Global

Summary:

The current international legal framework for the protection of cultural heritage is heavily critiqued for its lack of attention to the needs of individuals and communities, due to its overwhelming focus on heritage of 'universal' importance. This research seeks to chart whether heritage is designated as a common interest of the international community, and what effects this designation has on the means of international legal protection employed. It examines whether the harmonisation of human rights law and cultural heritage law could ameliorate the heavily State-driven processes of international heritage protection, improving the position of local heritage stewards.

International Humanitarian Law

Name: Sofia Poulopoulou

Location:

Leiden, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Nico Schrijver and Associate Professor Robert Heinsch

PhD Topic:

Towards the establishment of a new International Humanitarian Law implementation mechanism: lessons from the Human Rights compliance system transferable to International Humanitarian Law

Summary: Sofia’s research focuses on the establishment of a new International Humanitarian Law (IHL) compliance mechanism and the necessary elements with which such mechanism shall be vested. The research objective is realised through a comparative approach based on the IHL and the human rights compliance system. The research aims to identify legal concepts and practical approaches established within the existing human rights compliance system, and examine their application to a new system of IHL monitoring and compliance.

International Trade and Investment

Name: Ruben Zandvliet

Location:

Leiden, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Nico Schrijver

PhD Topic:

Enforcement of International Labour Standards

Summary:

Ruben's doctoral research examines the foundations and impact of labour provisions in regional trade and investment agreements. The United States and some European countries have long tried to include a social clause in the World Trade Organization's agreements, which was fiercely opposed by developing countries. The shift towards regional economic governance since the failure of the WTO's Doha Round provides an interesting policy laboratory for new approaches to the linkages between trade and investment liberalization and social concerns. There is now a variety of provisions, which have in common that they tie market benefits to procedural and/or substantive social commitments. It is often assumed that these provisions are a more effective means of labour rights enforcement than the traditional 'naming and shaming' methods of the International Labour Organization. Yet they cover only a subset of international labour standards, and the concern remains that there is a trade-off between improvement of labour standards through international legal instruments and economic development. Within this broad theme he focuses on two main questions. First, how are labour provisions justified and contested? And second, what is the impact of this form of transnational regulation on the protection of labour rights in global supply chains?

Recently Conferred

Name: Matthew Gillett

Location:

The Hague, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Larissa van den Herik and Assistant Professor Daniëlla Dam

PhD Topic:

Prosecuting Environmental Harm

Summary:

Matthew's thesis explores the feasibility of prosecuting serious environmental harm under the existing framework of international criminal law, particularly at the International Criminal Court. Focusing on three forms of environmental harm: military attacks resulting in excessive environmental harm, toxic dumping, and wildlife exploitation, the study tests the applicability of the substantive and procedural provisions of the Rome Statute and associated instruments as means of redress. Throughout the study, the instruments and provisions are assessed for their anthropocentric and eco-centric underpinnings.

Additional Work: Trial Attorney and Appeals Counsel for the Prosecution at the United Nations Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunals
PhD Conferred: 20 June 2018
Name: Alessandro Tonutti

Location:

New York City, United States of America

Supervisor(s):

Professor William Schabas

PhD Topic:

The Role of Modern International Commissions of Inquiry: A First Step to Ensure Accountability for International Law Violations?

Summary:

Alessandro’s dissertation provides an assessment of the evolution undertaken by commissions of inquiry throughout history in order to appreciate and understand their current proliferation and their present function.

The first chapter provides an overview of the history of commissions of inquiry, starting from their inclusion in the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes (the Hague Conventions). The overview assesses the evolution undertaken by international inquiries in the course of the 20th Century by looking at the developments of the practice and the codification in international instruments.

The second chapter engages in an in-depth comparative thematic analysis of the main experiences of those international commissions of inquiry mandated to investigate serious international humanitarian law and human rights law violations. The analysis is conducted with reference to the following thematic areas:

  • Mandate received;
  • Standard of proof implemented;
  • Impact of cooperation/non-cooperation by the parties;
  • Use and combination of sources and evidence;
  • Use and contribution to the development of international law;
  • The contribution in ensuring accountability and the use of international criminal law.

Finally, the third chapter assesses the impact of commissions of inquiry within the broader context of the international community’s response to human rights emergencies. It then attempts to identify the main features of the role currently played by these mechanisms and assess a number of key challenges and gaps faced by the current practice with the purpose of providing suggestions for rectifying certain trends. The purpose is to develop some significant lessons learnt that can prove useful in inspiring future models of commissions of inquiry, in this way providing increased guidance and understanding of how inquiry mechanisms function and how they can be effectively used and deployed in the current set of affairs.

PhD Conferred:

5 September 2017

Name: Linlin Sun

Location:

Leiden, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Nico Schrijver and Professor Eric de Brabandere

PhD Topic:

International Environmental Obligations and Liabilities in Deep Seabed Mining

Summary:

Linlin’s research deals with marine environmental protection in the deep seabed mining legal regime (DSM). Her research posits two basic propositions: marine environmental protection in DSM is an integral element of the principle of common heritage of mankind and should be perceived as a common interest of the international community as a whole; and marine environmental protection in DSM relies heavily on marine scientific knowledge. Linlin’s research attempts to clarify two major legal questions: first, what are the international environmental obligations of the participants in the international DSM regime? Second, what are the legal consequences of a breach to the aforementioned obligations? The second question concerns the establishment of, the contents of, and the implementation of liability.

Linlin’s research identifies three types of participants in the international DSM regime (the ISA; States; and contractors) and examines their different roles in the protection of the marine environment in DSM.

PhD Conferred: 26 June 2018
Name: Catherine Harwood

Location:

The Hague, the Netherlands

Supervisor(s):

Professor Larissa van den Herik and Professor Carsten Stahn

PhD Topic:

The Role and Function of United Nations Atrocity Inquiries in the International Legal Order

Summary:

‘United Nations atrocity inquiries’ are established by the UN to investigate situations involving incidents that might be characterised as violations of human rights, IHL and/or international crimes. These bodies are not courts, yet in many ways resemble judicial processes. The recent proliferation of UN atrocity inquiries and their engagement with international law have put these institutions on the ‘map’ of international legal discourse. Yet their role and function in the international legal order remains blurred. Catherine’s research aims to determine the roles and functions of UN atrocity inquiries in the international legal order by examining their institutional characteristics. It also analyses how commissions identify relevant legal frameworks and engage in legal interpretation and application, in light of their roles and functions.

PhD Conferred: 7 November 2018
Name: Kabir A N Duggal

Location:

New York, United States of America

Supervisor(s):

Professor Eric De Brabandere and Assistant Professor Mamadou Hébié 

PhD Topic:

Principles of Evidence in Investor-State Arbitration

Summary:

Investor-state arbitration, as a species of dispute resolution, has acquired special significance in recent years.  On the one hand, the recent US$50 billion award against Russia in the Yukos arbitration demonstrates the far-reaching powers of an investor-state tribunal.  On the other hand, there is an ongoing debate relating to the power of (typically) three unelected individuals (i.e., the arbitral tribunal) who review decisions of lawfully-elected representatives in matters that touch upon a state’s sovereignty.

Evidentiary principles are emblematic of the tensions that exist in investor-state arbitration and present an interesting dichotomy.  The starting point for the analysis is one of the bedrock principles of international arbitration wherein an arbitral tribunal is not bound by technical rules of procedure or evidence. This is perhaps why arbitral rules do not discuss evidentiary principles in any detailed manner compared to the national codes in most countries.  On the other hand, investor-state cases are frequently dismissed (or determined) solely on evidentiary grounds.  Critics point out that the lack of any guidance relating to evidentiary rules and principles can be problematic because it provides a tribunal with very broad discretion.  And, this discretion can be exercised in an ad hoc manner resulting in like cases being decided differently. Kabir’s research, therefore, seeks to fill the void by understanding and appreciating the principles of evidence as applied by investor-state arbitral tribunals.

PhD Conferred:

28 February 2019

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